11 Nov Politics, history and social change
It has been an eventful week, and both the political scientist and the political junkie in me can’t get enough of the analysis of this week’s election. History was made again, as the first African-American President, Barack Obama, was re-elected. The Democratic party has put together a diverse coalition of voters that reflects the future of the United States. We are living in a very important time in history. It has been talked about for a long time, but this was clearly the first election that Latino votes played a key role in determining the outcome (see latinodecisions.com); women made it clear that they would raise their voices loud and clear; and same-sex marriage was supported in state-wide referenda. Will this be a sea change in American politics? Only time will tell.
As I see the gains that women have made, particularly in the Senate where there are now 20 women, more than any other time in history, I am energized and enthusiastic about the future. Indeed, a friend and I started a FB page — Austin Women for Political Action. If there’s one thing we all learned from the last four years is that politics doesn’t end with an election — it’s only the beginning. Issues I care about like women’s reproductive health, access to healthcare, and equal rights are ongoing issues at the local, state and national level. As far as I could tell, voter suppression wasn’t a problem in Texas, but it’s clearly an issue that needs to be dealt with going forward.
On this veteran’s day, I can’t help but think of my father and all that he lived through. As I said in my previous post, I can enjoy a better life because of his sacrifices. My children live in a better world, but there are issues related to our country’s economic situation and climate change which will have a huge impact on their future and their children’s future. There’s so much to be done…we must support science, a strong educational system, public broadcasting, and things which are public goods that help us all in so many ways. Our economy has been strong not because we simply let every person fend for themselves – it’s because we valued upward mobility which can only be supported through education. We value entrepreneurs and support them with government programs and contracts. We simply value each other, regardless of lifestyle or background. This country has survived much deeper divisions than we face now — I draw my strength from the words of Martin Luther King “‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” Peace ♥